Just over two years into it, I’m relieved to share a personal insight that many may talk about indirectly or create spin around it to get attention but few really say outright: the social media revolution is well into its ‘synthesis’ stage.
But before I bullet-point the meaty parts of this post, a stroll down memory lane and some fun facts:
Revolution and dialectics
I refer to ‘synthesis’ within the context of Hegelian dialectics, which in principle characterizes the structural elements of most societal revolutions (this tidbit, brought to you in part by an invisible data log wedged in my brain from when this concept was first introduced to me in high school).
Thank you, George Wrobel, wherever you are now..you are the best history teacher ever.
Now that we are spoiled by Wikipedia, I am able to further explain (copy and paste) that Hegelian dialectics is comprised of “three stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction; an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis; and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.”
Ergo, the reference to ‘synthesis’ above, which now provides context on the thrust of this post.
My initial branding of this blog as “reflections on the social media revolution” speaks to a time when social media was still in the thick of the thesis-antithesis stage.
And quite frankly, the idea of social media gaining mass visibility at the time was certainly very exhilarating and ‘revolutionary’.
Now, social media is in the mainstream.
And by that I mean, it’s no longer a novelty: everyone’s on the merry wagon waving their flags, catching their breath or quickly scheming away at how this so-called “social media marketing” model can benefit both personal and financial interests.
But is social media revolutionary?
So here’s the thing: yes, there are some strong revolutionary aspects to social media. It aims to democratize. It fosters openness. It breaks down barriers to entry. It connects people (and now things!) together and in remarkable ways which only few of us were aware since the dawn of the Internet.
And there’s the rub: the Internet. Our experience of connectedness, our heightened awareness of ‘things in motion’ and ‘things to come’ are all possible because of where it they’re all happening: the Internet.
Inevitably, with or without the ‘revolutionary’ descriptor, social media would have taken place organically because of how the Internet has thus far evolved.
The face of ‘synthesis’
So here are some bullets on what this state of ‘synthesis’ may end up looking:
- Social media will simply be media. McLuhan’s words ring no truer: the media is the message. And that message has gotten far too many of us distracted. A few experienced and well studied folks out there and online understand what this means. That we call it ‘social media’ now is purely referential; it gives us a common way to explain what this once seemingly novel phenomenon really is. Will it matter if we call is something else? Not really.
- The ‘Internet of Things’ will make data (and objects) reign supreme. ReadWriteWeb portrays and monitors this movement very closely. In brief, the way RWW portrays the ‘Internet of Things’ may be described as a state in the future where there are more things (i.e., physical objects, sensors) wired together (interconnected) on the Internet than there are people.
- Business will be personal; personal will be our business. Business is already frantically revamping its old institutionalized models as a combination of socially and economically driven factors and influences (thanks in part to social media) conspire to force the way we do business with each other. Conversely, ease of both creating our content (personal or otherwise) and accessing such content is forcing us to make it our own personal business to ensure we understand what private and public lives really mean.
- Relativity will finally be understood and highly valued. As a species, we can be remarkably bright or hopelessly dense. This is a function of our highly evolved brain and that’s fine; not much we can do about that. But what often strikes me most is our indomitable desire to accomplish countless feats and to do so successfully, preferably in states of perfection.The preference to be perfect comes with a degree of obsession with the absolute, which also happens to be a function of scientific endeavour. (I know I seem to be digressing, but I’ll wrap it up shortly)Social media and the Internet will force us to constantly question, re-evaluate and transform (a) traditional schools of thought, (b) established mores, and (c) longstanding theories and models as well as consensually pre-conceived and accepted modes of behavior.Why? Because we will finally come to realize that we live in realms of relativity yet are forced to obtain absolutes. Once we really appreciate and understand this, then there would be a really good reason to make a blockbuster Hollywood film that captures it all. Oh okay, maybe a book first. Or graphic novel.
What do YOU think will be next for social media? Do see it going beyond the obvious and predictable?
graphic sourced from photobucket.com by shibby999955